This piece in CIO.com, “In Defense of Gen Y Workers” is the most interesting read I’ve had in a while.
I highly recommend having a read, regardless of your generational affiliation, if only to experience the emotions it elicits. Setting the content aside, the author has definitely found a way to get her audience in a tizzy, both to support her and to flame her. 105 comments today, up from 89 when I first read the story last week, attest to this.
I love how people need to align themselves–my school, my company, my team, my city, my generation. There are so many parallels with Gen Y workers and Gen X workers, like me, 10 years ago. We’re actually not that different, aside from age.
How many of you got eye-rolls or blank stares when you enthusiastically preached about the utility of the Interwebs as a business tool? “The Internet is just porn and stock quotes” is my all-time favorite quote from a Boomer sales rep who sold mainframes and dumb terminals back in the day (with apologies to Lou Springer). As I get older, I repeat it more. Senility setting in I guess. We were all merging onto the Information Superhighway, and thanks to Al Gore and his Internet.
Fast forward 10 years; how many of you get a similar response when you talk about Facebook, Twitter or blogging? Heh, how many of you glaze over or turn off your brain when someone talks about Facebook, Twitter or blogging? It’s not a bad, and there’s no right or wrong. Point is, I used to care and wonder why people didn’t get it. Are they crazy? The Interwebs will change the world.
Now, I just talk and whatever happens, happens.
David has a nostalgic post recounting his Oracle career. I also remember thinking the tools we used to code (Developer/2000 Forms and Reports) were pretty slick, when compared to good old Word/Notepad. I joined Oracle in 1996 as a sales consultant and left the Bay Area for Chicago right as the Bubble started inflating. Friends from college got rich starting companies like Excite and working for options. The IPO was the exit strategy of choice, making loads of paper millionaires. Unlike the horror stories you hear, I know quite a few people who turned paper millions into real assets.
Meanwhile, I was in Chicago, pushing Interwebs to client-server customers. Let’s just say the reps didn’t take me out much. Oracle in the Midwest had more of a blank stare factor than a cool one. I’ve always been in Apps, so when people did know Oracle, inevitably, it was for database, not Apps. The late 90s in Chicago was marked by a mass exodus of Apps reps and sales consultants to PeopleSoft.
PeopleSoft was the enemy then, with their smug attitudes (“We’re people people!”) and their blue laptop backpacks. I was so jealous of those backpacks. At the time, the Toshiba Tecras we carried were something like 15 pounds. Add the external disk drive, the adapter brick and any papers, and our briefcase style bags were heavy enough to send you to the chiropractor every week. Corporate wouldn’t sign off on laptop backpacks, so yeah, I was a hater.
Sales makes you think funny things, e.g. someone at another company is my enemy.
Obviously, a lot has changed since then. I now work with not one, but two people people, Paul and Rich. All the acquisitions have dramatically changed our culture. This is for the better, since we’re mixing more ideas and people with different experiences together. The culture has changed more since the acquisitions began in 2005 than it did between 1996 and 2004.
I’m in my second tour of duty at Oracle, and next year, I’ll hit my 10 years of total service mark. It’s been an interesting ride so far, and I expect that to continue.
What do you think? Sound off in comments.